Piper’s 5 Necessary Indulgences this Holiday Season

Check out Piper's gift suggestions in The Plaid Horse Gift Guide.
Check out Piper’s gift suggestions in The Plaid Horse Gift Guide.

Cleanse your brain before new year’s resolutions

by Piper Klemm, Ph.D.

It’s a hectic time of year. We all know that. But knowing and doing something about it are two very different things. Here’s how I try to hit pause and indulge and renew before the season slips away.

Turn off social media. 

Pick a day and keep yourself off of social media and your fav apps as much as you can. Turn off the tv and computer (yes, that means no Netflixs), and allow your brain to reformulate.

Confession. Reality check: I can’t completely do “no screen time.” My phone is also my alarm, GPS, and link to my family and employees. But I have improved this year at setting specific times to be on social media and specific times to read. And I NEVER text or look at my phone while driving – people often get frustrated if I don’t answer quickly when I’m traveling, but that is too bad.

Read a really long article.

Dive into that Atlantic or Vanity Fair piece you’ve been meaning to read.

If you’re at loss for where find a piece of interest, check out Longform, which is both an app and a podcast that recommends long form non-fiction articles.  Here are Longform’s most viewed articles for 2016.

What I’m reading this week:

The Great A.I Awakening – The New York Times

Discover a new podcast.

Podcasts keep my mind noodling as I do other things – driving, cleaning, cooking, barn chores, shoveling snow, etc. Every night, I hop in bed and turn on a podcast to slow my brain down to fall asleep. I prefer the Stitcher app – it has all the best podcasts, it streams or downloads so you don’t use a ton of space on your phone, and has an excellent sleep timer. And be ready for it – the Plaidcast gets its own show in 2017 on the Horse Radio Network!

Piper’s podcast picks: 99% Invisible, Freakonomics, The New Yorker, Invisibilia, Planet Money, Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab & Horses in the Morning 

Read a print book. 

If you haven’t had time to read this year, or have only read a few, this is a great time to catch up. Publishers save some of their most popular and promising titles for a holiday season launch. Take advantage of great holiday sales and buy yourself a bit of quality downtime.

Here are some of my favorite reads of 2016.


Hamilton (read by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mariska Hargitay on Audible)

Dreamland by Sam Quinines

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Narconomics by Tom Wainwright

The Diva Rules by Michelle Visage

Red Notice by Bill Browder


Term Limits by Vince Flynn

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

The Martian by Andy Weir

The common thread here is to slow down and give your brain the pleasure of food for thought. The rapid fire distraction of constant screen time takes its toll and you are the only one who can dial it back.

What are your favorite books, podcasts and reads of 2016?

Share what you’re enjoying with us on Facebook or Instagram.

About the Author: Piper began her tenure as the Publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine in 2014. She received her B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Trinity College [Hartford, CT] in 2009 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. She is an active member of the hunter/jumper community, owning a fleet of lease ponies and showing in adult hunter divisions.
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